PR Interns: True Tales from the Workplace
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A few weeks ago I asked current public relations interns to share their “tales from the workplace” with the expectation they would remain anonymous. I asked for them to share good, the bad and the ugly.
I was flooded with responses.
There were many stories of good experiences and even more with “the bad” and “the ugly.” I made a choice to share three examples of “internships gone wrong.”
Why? This summer I plan to share Sevans Strategy’s experience with our interns, from developing a “Standards of Teamwork” agreement to mistakes to amazing learning opportunities. I realized through this call for submissions not all interns have an opportunity to share their experience publicly, nor do all have a voice of support at the companies they currently represent.
This post is meant as a reminder to treat not only interns, but all employees, as a valued part of your team. If making the coffee IS part of the job requirement, don’t forget to tell them how great it tastes every once in a while.
Please don’t let one of your interns experience this when working with you and your team.
***If after reading you have advice for one (or more) of the anonymous interns, feel free to leave it in the comments section. All three have been made aware their post was used and will be checking the comment feed.***
#1: The True Cost of Success?
The ugly: I spent 3,180 dollars on housing, 600 dollars on airfare, no idea how much on food/entertainment, 810 dollars to put “internship” on my transcript, and I am an unpaid full-time intern for 3 months.
The good: I get to put an amazing company on my resume. I am learning great techniques for media relations and I have met a lot of executives. I sit in on a lot of meetings and I take a lot of notes about the broadcasting/cable networking world.
#2: Real Life “The Devil Loves Prada”
“Currently, I am an intern a boutique PR firm that represents luxury brands. As a recent college graduate (I graduated in May) I was really excited to land such an internship, due to the fact that this agency promised that its interns would get to do hands-on work and wouldn’t be relegated to just making copies and getting the office coffee. Although I have gotten to work with Cision, pitch ideas, and even attended a press event, two of the account managers have been absolutely horrid to work for!”
“…She is noticeably nasty to us, and is incredibly condescending in the tasks she gives us (nothing like being the only intern in the office who is noticeably busy and yet is sent to run around Manhattan in 100+ degree weather while the younger interns just sit and enjoy the AC!)”
“…is a demanding, patronizing, and outright mean person who had no real interest in teaching the interns about the PR industry. Instead, interns were sent to her apartment to retrieve her mail and a pair of her shoes! She didn’t even train the interns on her first day- she relegated [sic] that task to an intern who hadn’t even been working for that long and didn’t know enough to train the rest of us! This of course led to our entire group getting yelled at for not knowing things that we had never been trained to do, among other things.”
#3 – Quit Playing Games With My Heart
“The downside of working in a start-up environment was also that I was never formally trained on anything! I would have to figure out everything on my own or through a fellow intern. I also never really received any feedback, an internship is a learning experience and although I learned A LOT about PR on the client side and start-up environment during my 3 months at <name withheld> I wish I could have been told some positive things I was doing and some negative. Also I was told that there would be an opportunity for a full-time position after my internship were over. When I was offered an internship at <name withheld>, I asked where I stood at <name withheld> and they told me that they were looking for someone with more experience (2-3 years). This left a bad taste in my mouth, if they had decided to change directions I would have liked to know, luckily I have an equally if not better opportunity to intern at <name withheld>.”